DVIDS – News – Master of One

ĀDAŽI, Latvia — There are currently more than a hundred entry-level Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) available from the moment a potential candidate decides to enlist in the military. MOS selection is based solely on the score of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test provided to applicants prior to enlistment. Once selected, soldiers undergo basic combat training as well as Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for their specific MOS. After graduating from AIT with the skills they learned, they report to their assigned unit in hopes of advancing their skills.

“When I talk about developing your expertise, I mean in your trade, whatever your MOS and in your skills as a soldier,” the command sergeant said. Maj. Robert V. Abernathy, command sergeant major of U.S. European Command.

Although each MOS requires the mastery of various technical skills to achieve mastery in warfare, soldiers are aware of what it takes to achieve this.

“Flexibility and a good work ethic are very important to being a master at my MOS,” Spc said. Mark Northup, band saxophonist of the 1st Infantry Division (1 ID). “Being in the band, we’re often tasked with last-minute musical assignments and sometimes last-minute non-musical assignments.”

While being part of the Army Band requires flexibility and a work ethic, vision and creativity are essential in communicating the story of the Army and the soldier.

“When we’re really good at our job, it’s when we really tell a different angle of a great story,” Spc said. Charles Leitner, mass communication specialist for 1 ID.

From behind the camera at the wheel, skill and logistical expertise provide maximum maneuverability on the battlefield.

“To be a master at this MOS means being proficient in all systems and guidance to move anyone or anything at any time,” said Master Sgt. Steve W. Hill, transportation management coordinator with 1 ID Artillery.

On the battlefield, soldiers in the medical field need to understand health care needs in order to ensure a stable and effective fighting force.

“Mastering my MOS means being able to feel purpose in all that it means to be a medical professional and a soldier,” said SPC. Sean Angelo B. Abante, health care specialist with 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division operationally controlled by 1 ID. “It’s an ever-evolving MOS that forces you to learn from others.”

Diversity and flexibility within the battlespace creates an environment of trust for soldiers on the front lines.

“MOS Mastery is learning both a Gunner’s position and a Squad Leader status,” said Spc. Cristina Fuentes-Mendoza, air and missile defense crew member for Bravo Battery, Merchants of Death, 2nd Battalion, 174th Air Defense Artillery Regiment operationally controlled by 1 ID. “It’s important to learn the in-depth ability of someone else’s job in case they aren’t there or replaced.”

Whatever your MOS, becoming a master of your MOS takes dedication, hard work, and knowing how to achieve that level of mastery.

“Keeping abreast of the constant changes in medicine helps all medical personnel provide the best effective treatments to those we monitor,” Abante said. “Medicine is a practice more than a skill, which means continuous study and avid reading doesn’t stop after TRADOC.”

Part of achieving this level of mastery is being able to receive feedback from those around you.

“Get out of your comfort zone, I find myself doing this more often than I thought,” Leitner said. “Find good editors who will be really honest with your work and pull you in solid directions that see something in your work.”

For soldiers who are just beginning their military career, receiving guidance from those who have done their specific MOS will help soldiers achieve that level of mastery and prepare them for the challenges and struggles that may arise along the way.

“My advice for the new 68W is to remember that we’re part of a much larger, procedural process to provide people with definitive answers,” Abante said. “Remembering our purpose will help us overcome doubts and maintain the trust service members have in us 68W.”

The military is always advancing in doctrine, equipment, and politics, so staying up to date with everything is crucial to mastery.

“Read like a freak, study some of the great photographers, study some of the great writers, some of the great journalists, and create a portfolio of the work that interests you and add them to your toolbox,” Leitner said.

The courage and perseverance of military specialty masters builds the confidence and stability essential for success in and out of uniform.

“Access your strengths and weaknesses, then find a way to strengthen your weaknesses,” Northup says. “Come every day ready to work and improve in everything you do.”

The effectiveness of the US military relies on the mastery of warfare, specialties in direct conflict on the battlefield or specialists who support the fighting force, each is necessary for the power of the organization.

“If we don’t do our job, the mission fails,” Hill said. “I never want the mission to fail.”

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